Enhance Your Soundscape

You can enhance your soundscape experience in national parks simply by becoming more aware of the sounds unfolding around you. And you can enhance the sound environment for wildlife and other park visitors by talking quieter.

The following ideas will help you get started. Many of these suggestions can be used in your everyday life, too, outside of national park settings. It's easy to make a positive difference!
Two people stand in front of a large waterfall in the woods.
Visitors enjoy the rushing sound of a waterfall at North Cascades National Park

NPS Photo

Close Your Eyes
Stop. Listen to what's around you. Do you hear more with your eyes closed?

Count Sounds
Lift up a finger for each sound you hear. Use your left hand for natural sounds and your right hand for human-made sounds.

Walk and Listen
Do you hear your footsteps? Do you hear your clothes rustle? Can you walk without making any sound?

Appreciate Sounds
What is the most beautiful sound you hear? What sound is the least appealing?

Listen to Landscapes
How does the shape of the land affect the way sound travels to your ear? Where is the source of each sound? Are there any echoes? What is the closest sound you hear?

Walk in the Wild
Walk as though a predator were after you. Walk as though you were a predator.

Chat Like an Animal
Listen for an animal. What sound does the animal make? Can you make its sound?

Sound Language
Find a sound you like. How would you spell that sound on paper?

Sound Tally
Keep a tally of every kind of sound you hear on your walk. What sound do you hear the most?

Sound Size
Listen around you. Do you hear movement in a bush or tree? Can you guess the size of an animal from its sound?

These strategies were developed in collaboration with the Nature Sounds Society.

Last updated: January 3, 2018